Established in 1983 as one of the major showcases of new German films, the 34th edition of the Munich Film Festival took place between June 23 and July 2. With its slogan “the best movies of the summer”, Germany’s biggest summer film festival offered around 200 screenings including features, shorts, documentaries, TV movies and TV series to both film professionals and local audiences. The opening film was the German premiere of Maren Ade’s sublime Cannes success, Toni Erdman.
As in previous years, the festival showed a great selection of international films. The line-up included not only well-known directors, but young discoveries from around the world. Sections titled Cinemasters Competition, Cinevision Competition, Spotlight and International Independents exhibited a panorama of the latest world cinema, while New German Cinema and New German TV Movies focused on the freshest works of the Deutsches Kino.
This year’s homages were given to three great directors – Christian Petzold, Bahman Ghobadi, and the late master Jacques Rivette – and one legendary actress, Ellen Burstyn, who was also honored with the glorious Cinemerit Award. A retrospective for Burstyn included classics such as The Exorcist – Director’s Cut, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore and The Last Picture Show. One of her latest films, Todd Solondz’s Wiener Dog, had its European premiere in the Spotlight section, and Solondz was also a guest of the festival.
Once again, the New German Cinema program was one of the main draws for the audience, including in its selection the latest film by the legendary Münchner director Klaus Lemke. Most of the screenings in this section were sold out and all the films were received with great excitement. The section tells us a lot about the current status and trends of German cinema, presenting 21 new films, mostly world premieres. The Förderpreis Jury, awarding the prize for German Cinema New Talent, consisted of Dietrich Brüggemann, Nicole Gerhards and Johann Von Bülow. The judges divided a total purse of 70,000 euros between the best newcomers in four different categories (director, producer, screenwriter and actor) within the section.
Munich also hosted a FIPRESCI jury for the second time in its history. We evaluated the New German Cinema section, with the exception of two of its special screenings (Toni Erdmann and The Nachtmahr – And How He Came Into the World). We decided to give the prize to a first dramatic feature, Dinky Sinky, written and directed by Mareille Klein. (Kaan Karsan, edited by Lesley Chow)